Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm sure it will all work out in the end

Trip does not take a bottle. I am going back to work in two weeks. I’ve been a little nervous and worried since he’s already on the small side. I believe the old saying is that babies should double their birth weight by 4 months (definitely by 6 months) and triple it by a year. If they are exclusively breastfed for a year, they don’t always triple it by a year (but come close), but breastfed is much more likely to double by 4 months. Trip is not going to double his birthweight. He was 8 lbs 9 ounces. He is 4 months old today and is about 15 pounds (which is about 4 pounds lighter than Bobo was at 4 months).

Anyway, Trip does not take a bottle, so I am worried that he’ll starve to death or (almost as bad) reverse cycle when I go back to work. So, we’ve been throwing away hard-won breastmilk like crazy trying different bottles, different people, different nipples, positions, temperatures, etc. I mentioned the lack of bottle-taking to my mother-in-law who said she could do it, no problem. The nanny and I both laughed because, really, we’ve tried it all. But even though we thought she was a little…naïve? we were secretly hopeful that she was right. If she could do it, she could teach everyone else and I could return to work without fear of never sleeping again ever OMG.

So, we went on a family vacation with my in-laws and left my m-i-l with a bottle while I went out of earshot. When I got back, I heard unmistakable wailing, but that’s par for the course with the bottles so I wasn’t immediately concerned. Then she came out and said I should take the baby and feed him. She said he took a little and was quite proud of herself. I looked. He took a quarter of one ounce. She said, no, he was taking it. He took some. Yep. A quarter-ounce. I asked her how it went. Her answer was that he started taking a little, realized what was going on, got fussy, started squirming, wiggling and arching away from the bottle and that’s when she dropped him. Alrighty then.

I wasn’t blogging back when Chuckles was born. He didn’t take a bottle reliably; he reverse cycled. I was a wreck and a first-time mom and whatever. It all worked out and he’s a great kid who often sleeps through the night now that he’s 7. What I want to mention is about that new yahoo CEO. I think she’s a little nuts for saying she’ll take a couple of weeks off, but before I had Chuckles (my first), I did something similar (though much less public than she’s doing). I took a 9-day maternity leave. I had promised work that I would only take a week, but I had an emergency c-section and found it much harder to brush my teeth and dial the phone than I ever thought I would. I was the only engineer where I worked and someone needed to approve products and designs. It’s not exactly a function you can get a temp to do. Most customer inquiries could wait a week at the most, so I wasn’t overly worried but much more than that and we’d start to jeopardize delivery. Anyway, so I took 9 days completely off and then worked about half-time while caring for my newborn until I went back to the office full-time at 11 weeks. I did it. I survived. However, I would like to point out that I have taken 20 week maternity leaves for the next two kids (though I do email and keep up on what is going on…I have a new job with a different/bigger company now so my absence isn’t as keenly felt). She can do it if she wants. And she will probably have paid help whereas I was working and caring for the newborn. Sounds OK to me.


But if you do have any advice about bottle-taking, I will accept it (we've tried mimicking the nursing process and being as polar opposite as we can...warm/cool, different nipples, people locations, facing forward...we're going to try a sippy cup next's bottle was given while he was laying on the changing table looking at himself in the mirror, but it still took an hour for him to take 2 ounces).  The only thing we haven't tried is a different beverage though I do have some formula samples I could use if anyone thinks that would help.  I'm also going to ask the pediatrician about solids at 4 months (are we doing that this time around?  What's the going theory on solids nowadays?) so that we have a back up way of feeding him if necessary.


  1. No advice, just sympathy. I've been there too. My 2nd never took a bottle & reverse-cycled. I would start nursing him immediately after daycare pick-up & he co-slept most of the time because of the night-nursing. It's all a blur now (he's 5!), but I think we did start solids earlier & he liked sippy cups eventually. It was so sad/upsetting to get all those still-full bottles of breastmilk back from daycare at the end of the day that I eventually stopped pumping much (maybe once during the day) and lived with it.

  2. OK some suggestions though I didn't experience this in the same way, so you can take 'em or leave 'em. Have you tried giving it to him when he's very very sleepy, like let's say you're nursing him and he's almost asleep, make sure that the bottle nipple is warm, temp of milk is just right, and slip your nipple out and put bottle in. Or you could try HOT milk. Make sure it won't scald his mouth, but make it as hot as you can. I heard at the daycare that one little girl wanted her milk like boiling hot.

    And now for something completely different. Maybe when he goes to the daycare, and you aren't there, dad's not there, no family member is there, he will accept a bottle in place of you. My son will go down for a nap at daycare, no problem, no fussing, no buts (not the same thing, I know). At home on weekends... not so much. I've realized it has a lot to do with my boobs so I'm on my way to acceptance of that fact.

    Have also heard that babies won't let themselves starve. I pumped 3 times a day for the first 15 months of my son's life and would get a max of 12 ounces. And I never had a stash. So I was wicked worried a lot esp. in the beginning that he wasn't getting enough. My son has always been on the lower end of the weight spectrum (I'm trying to remember what he weighed at 4 months) We tried solids at 6 months ("solids" meaning purees, etc. which he hated) and he barely would eat a few cheerios. Then seemingly out of the blue he started eating a ton at daycare. That was only within the past 8 months or so (he's 21 months) He still nurses a ton. I think that even if they take a bottle many babies reverse cycle (sorry I know that's a downer). Oh and I'm sure you've tried all the bottles but the ones that worked for my son were/are Dr. Brown's. At first he seemed to like The First Years ones.

  3. Legend has it that I would only drink out of a spoon when I was a baby. I don't know if a daycare would feed a baby with a spoon, but maybe if you find that he'll drink from a spoon, you can get that crazy spoon/bottle thing?

    I'm not sure where "we" stand on feeding solids at four months, but if you end up doing it, I would strongly consider mixing rice cereal with your milk.

    E wouldn't take a bottle, either. Not from me, not from my husband, not from anyone. Not on his head. Not in a bed. Not in the house. Not from a mouse. And while he didn't let himself starve while I was out-of-town for three days, he did come close. He was the most stubborn eight month old ever. I think my husband finally got him to take a bottle by wrapping E in one of my shirts, pulled out of the hamper and extra-stinky.

    Good luck. And whatever you end up doing, make your peace with it and know that you did the best you could with what you had.

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  5. I've heard of some babies who won't take a bottle but will take a sippy cup. But other than that, I have no advice, just good wishes for this to sort itself out for you!

  6. Just discovered your blog through Ask Moxie when I googled "One year old sleeping routine". I have a daughter that never really took to sleep when she was born and a year little is still ambivalent about sleep. I laughed at your comment and think you have a groovy blog so am going to pop you in my reader!

  7. Also try a straw cup. (You've basically covered the rest of the standard advice.)

    And look up reverse cycling-- it might make you feel better.

  8. We had this problem and distraction and hunger seemed to finally do it. My daughter took the bottle when I was out of the house, grandpa was bouncing her on the yoga ball while she was looking at my grandmother who was running around shaking a bunch of toys in her hand and throwing them up in the air while singing. Oh yeah, she was hungry too and it was the middle of the day. For the next few days only the bouncing/dancing routine led to bottle feeding but after that she got the hang of it. Wish I had a video of it all, it was pretty funny to imagine. Anyway, movement/distraction worked for us.